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MANIPULATING PACE

The editor can exercise an astounding degree of control over pace using the
following cutting techniques. How they work ultimately depends on the
sequencing and emotional content of the shots:

Length of Consecutive Shots


A series of short shots can quicken pace, while a series of long shots can slow
pace. The shower scene in Psychoconsists of a series of very short shots that
gets the audience's hearts pumping. The scene where Norman sinks the car is
constructed with longer shots. It slows down pace, while maintain a high degree
of tension.

Dialogue
Overlapping lines of dialogue can quicken pace, while pauses in dialogue can
slow pace. The former was used throughout The Thing From Another World to
enhance the frenetic pace.

Exits and Entrances


Cutting before a complete exit-- while the frame still has action in it-- can help
increase pace. Cutting after a complete exit-- with the frame is momentarily
empty-- can slow pace.

Completion of Action
Cutting before the completion of action can help increase pace. Cutting after the
completion of action-- while the frame is momentarily devoid of movement-- can
slow pace.

Transitional Devices
Cutting directly to a high-energy scene can increase pace, especially when the
outgoing scene is winding down. Lengthening certain transitional devices, such
as fades and dissolves, can slow pace.

Cause and Effect


Pace can be quickened when the incoming scene ties directly to the outgoing
scene through cause and effect, action and reaction, or some reasonable
connecting element. Pace can slow down when the incoming scene is not
directly related to an intense outgoing scene.